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Navigating the minefield of medical speak in your relationship

An excerpt from Love in the time of medical school: Build a happy, healthy relationship with a medical student.

My dad is the oldest of four boys and my grandfather was an anesthe­siologist for many years. Apparently, the women who wanted to marry into the family all had to pass the “test” of listening to my grandfather tell gory surgery stories over dinner. My mother tells me about one particular dinner with my grandparents that simultaneously involved hearing a story about in­testines coming out of the body and being served spaghetti for dinner.

While my mother passed that test, I assuredly would have failed it. In our home, we have a rule called simply No Yucky Stuff. Graphic stories gross me out and occasionally make me feel woozy. You will need to navigate how much you want to hear about medical school, how much jargon you want to learn, and what kinds of stories you prefer to hear. Like other challenges in medical school, address your partner with kindness and support. Use “I” statements that focus on what you want and do not want to hear, rather than focusing on what they do or do not tell you. That way, they will continue to feel that you care about their journey, even if you can only tolerate hearing about certain aspects of it.

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